Marsh Plume Thistle - Cirsium palustre

Description: Marsh plume thistle is a biennial tap-rooted forb growing to 2 m tall with a cluster of large purple-pink flowers and bracts with large spines.

Type: biennial

Habitat and Impacts: Marsh plume thistle grows on moist to wet areas on most soil types provided seepage is present. Typically, this species grows in unshaded sites but can tolerate some shade. Marsh plume thistle can invade undisturbed riparian areas and moist pastures and reduce or eliminate native vegetation and reduce ecological functioning in these sensitive sites. This species generally does not pose a risk to agricultural crops as it does not tolerate cultivation but may pose a risk to forestry plantations by overtopping and then pressing and/or shading seedlings.

Method of Spread: Marsh plume thistle reproduces exclusively from seed which is dispersed by wind, water, or birds. Seeds can disperse large distances, especially in area with strong consistent winds. It is unknown how long seeds remain viable in the soil.

Location: The present occurrence of Marsh plume thistle in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is limited to areas north, west, and east of Quesnel. Numerous sites exist near Blackwater Road east of Quesnel and along several Forest Service roads between Quesnel and Wells. A significant amount of Marsh plume thistle occurs east of Prince George in the McBride area where it has been extremely invasive.

Management Options:

Mechanical: Hand-pulling or mowing can prevent seed set and may be effective at removing infestations if repeated over several years.

Chemical: Clopyrlid and Aminopyralid are being used in the region.

Biocontrol: No biocontrol specific to plume thistle is available, but a generalist seed-eating weevil, Rhynocillus conicus, is being evaluated in British Columbia.

CCCIPC Priority and Treatment Strategy: Priority 1 (new invader) Marsh plume thistle is ranked as a new invader, although it is only present in the North Cariboo at this time. All known and new sites will be managed for the goal is to eliminate all sites in the region and stop all new sites from becoming established. The Northwest Invasive Plant Council has drawn a containment line north of this region and is actively attempting to stop the spread of this difficult to manage species.

Treatment Options:

Local Level - Hand pulling.
Landscape Level - Hand pulling or chemical.

Marsh Plume Thistle

British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

Marsh Plume Thistle flower head.

British Columbia Minsitry of Agriculture and Lands

Marsh Plume Thistle infestation


Invasive species profile taken from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Invasive Plant Committee Invasive Plant Regional Strategic Plan

Page last modified: October 30, 2018 09:44:02 PDT